August 31, 2009

Opening the Door to Opportunity

I'm telling you, once you open the door to new opportunities, the universe aligns with you and sends you all sorts of unexpected signals. It's totally wild.

In that spirit, I had a GREAT lunch today with a potential strategic partner that basically reappeared out of the blue. It turns out, we are totally on the same page and have a similar strategic approach, which I love. I'm a big thinker and like working with the same type of person. It's almost electric. Anyway, if we can make this deal happen, it would be truly bananas and should, in theory, have a very positive impact on another deal I'm just now trying to put together. To clarify, these are all much larger, strategic partnerships vs. festival sponsorships.

Of course, in these situations, there are always wrinkles to iron out, so it's just the beginning of talks. That said, my vision from when I first joined this festival actually has a shot of coming to fruition and that, my friends, is complete insanity. I almost can't think about it b/c it's too mind-blowing to digest and I need to stay focused.

It's only Monday... breathe.


August 28, 2009

I Get To See A Film Tonight!

One of the sad ironies of running a film festival is you don't actually get to see all of the films because you simply have no time; your are, rather I am, too busy putting together the darn thing. I tend to watch approx. 2 films/weekend for a couple of months leading up to the festival; so, by the time the event rolls around, I've usually seen a good percentage of the programming. But, literally, I have never seen all of the films from any of my 8 years at NYILFF. Never. Not once. It's virtually impossible when I'm working until midnight or 1:00am for 2 months straight.

That said, I'm picking up where I left off in July by starting to bring home '09 screeners. Tonight, I plan to watch "Stages", the documentary that took home the '09 double-honor of Best Documentary and Cinelatino Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary. Can't wait to see it!

Have a great weekend and stay dry!


August 27, 2009

It's Just Lunch

I had a great, long lunch today with a very good friend of mine from the Tribeca Film Festival. I've known him for years, but we haven't seen each other in a fairly long time. Every time we get together, I feel like we have so much catching up to do.

I've been setting up a ton of meetings recently, particularly lunches, and I've decided getting out of the office and meeting with people face2face makes a huge difference. You just connect on a different level and, in turn, build a friendship vs. a basic business relationship.
Making an in-person connection is that much more important when you consider how much business gets done through personal relationships and networking.

Get out there and meet some folks!


August 26, 2009

Love is in the Air!

I don't know what it is about the NY Int'l Latino Film Festival, but each and every year, I hear stories about love connections that are made during the event. We've had staff get together (one couple in particular is STILL together... 3+/- years later!), volunteers, filmmakers, actors, patrons...

For example: a very good friend (to remain nameless) met a cutie at this year's fest. I knew about it at the time, and thought it was adorable with a capital "A"! As of her update yesterday, the couple is still blissfully together. So sweet, right??

I swear to you, there must be something in the festival's air that breeds such love because we've apparently created a hotbed for romance. Maybe I should approach Hallmark as a sponsor?? ;-)

I love the love. Keep it up, folks!


August 25, 2009

New Music Video on Cinedulce!

Check out this new music video, "The One", for Slaughterhouse, directed by Rik Cordero! Rik's feature, "Inside a Change", won Best Picture at the 2009 NYILFF!

"The One"


August 24, 2009

Recaps: Kind of a Bore

So, I have to say that despite the fact event recaps are vitally important to the sponsorship process, they're kind of a bore to write. Honestly, it's not all that exciting to sit for hours, inserting pictures into a PowerPoint and gathering media numbers. Again, super important... just not all that fun. But, it's called work for a reason and sometimes you just have to suck it up and get the job done. Soooo... I spent the majority of my day busting out this year's 2009 NYILFF recap. I'm not quite done and need some additional stats, but I made great headway, which is a huge relief. Phew!


August 21, 2009

Would You Believe?

Would you believe I've already started NYILFF sponsorship outreach for 2010? It's so crazy, right? I swear, there's just no rest for the wicked.

The encouraging news is some of my 2009 sponsors have already confirmed participation in 2010 (YAY!!!) and I've started to receive inquiries from other potentially interested parties. Soooo... hopefully, 2010 sponsorship will be less painful than 2009, which ended fine but was extremely stressful to endure. I could use a little less stress in my life. What about you?

Total side note: you HAVE to check out this Salsa number by Janette y Romulo on "So You Think You Can Dance". Holy guacamole, these guys can mooove!


August 20, 2009

Agent of Change

I just read Catalina Sandino Moreno, best known for her lead role in the heartbreaking film, "Maria Full of Grace", is joining the cast of "Twilight" as a Latina vampire. Pretty groovy, huh?

That bit of film gossip aside, lots going on over here. I have to say, thus far, August has not been all that quiet: strategizing, evolving, organizing, recapping, reconciling... planning for the future, near- and far-term.

Be an agent of change or else you'll be the victim.


August 19, 2009

Hot New Music Videos!

Check out these new music videos on Cinedulce. Soooo good!

Song by Amanda Diva. Directed by Lyn-don-McCray

"Automatic Writing"
Song by Elucid. Directed by Ali Santana.


August 17, 2009

Potential Off-Season Event

It looks like we may partner with a prestigious financial institution to co-produce an invite-only Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. The working plan, as of this AM, is to start with 30 minutes of networking and cocktails, followed by a full-length feature film (brainstorming options now) and a short post-screening Q&A with talent, capped off with 45+/- minutes of more networking and cocktails. The whole event, start to finish, will likely run about 3 hours: perfect for a mid-week event. I'm just really excited to start this new relationship, which has great long-term potential. I'm always about the longer-term when it comes to partnerships. Obviously, there's still value in a one-off but, really, my objective always is to develop a solid foundation that can evolve into something more significant, comprehensive and exciting.

Fingers crossed!


August 13, 2009


Check out this awesome VARIETY review of the feature film, "Spoken Word" (directed by Victor Nunez, produced by Karen Koch, starring Kuno Becker and Ruben Blades), which enjoyed its world premiere at the 2009 NYILFF!



August 12, 2009

AA Mis Millas winner!

American Airlines, official airline of the 2009 NY Int'l Latino Film Festival, has selected the winner of its Mis Millas promotion. And the winner is...

Sebastian Montoya!

Sebastian won Coach Air Transportation for two to anywhere in the Continental US, Caribbean and Mexico that American Airlines flies. Congratulations Sebastian!


August 10, 2009

2009 NYILFF Awards!

I realized I never posted the winners of the 2009 NYILFF. What a bonehead, right?? Please see below!!


INSIDE A CHANGE - Director: Rik Cordero

Cast: Ephraim Benton, Donté Bonner, Karen Chilton, Consequence, Darrell Vanterpool, Seth Stewart. Chris Price is about to serve six months in prison for a first-time offense. When his mother invites him back home for her birthday, he finds his younger brother following in his footsteps and his older brother disowning him. Now, on his last night of freedom, he is forced to re-examine his life and find a way to bring his family together before it is too late.

In addition to winning the 2009 Best Film Award, Director Rik Cordero also receives $2,500 from HBO.


LALO – Director: Daniel Maldonado

Cast: Karina Bonnefil, Neftali Jurec, Billy Magnussen, Doua Moua, Giselle Rodriguez , Abigail Stucker. Lalo, a NYC Mexican delivery worker on the brink of losing his job, is given one last run to prove himself. Naturally, a series of mishaps ensue. When his bike is totaled, he steals a little pink one belonging to a 10 year-old girl, who enters in hot pursuit to get it back. The next thing he knows, Lalo finds himself in a race to the death against a Chinese delivery-man and a pimped-out punk rock bike messenger.

In addition to winning the 2009 Best Short award, Daniel Maldonado also receives $500 film certificate from Kodak and software from AVID.


EL REGALO DE LA PACHAMAMA – Director: Toshifumi Matsushita

Cast: Christian Huaygua. In the Salar de Uyuni, there is a 13 year-old boy, Kunturi, who lives a life much like any other boy in his village. But when his grandmother dies and his best friend moves away, he decides to embark on a trip with the llama caravan. For three months, he travels throughout the "Ruta de la Sal," exchanging salt for other Andes products, reluctantly bearing witness to an animal sacrifice in the snow-covered peaks and interacting with the indigenous cultures seemingly untouched by modernity.

But when the caravan arrives at its destination, the town of Macha where the “Tinku” Festival is taking place, Kunturi’s life will be changed forever. There he finds the most beautiful girl he could have ever imagined, Ulala. Kunturi and Ulala share the same dream: “to run together across the immense white sea that is the Salar de Uyuni, until they reach the end of the horizon.”

In addition to winning the 2009 Cinelatino Audience Choice Award, director Toshifumi Matsushita also receives $1,000 on behalf of Cinelatino.



STAGES - Director: Meerkat Media Collective

In New York City's changing Lower East Side, a group of older Puerto Rican women are brought together with a group of inner city youths to create an original play from the stories of their lives. Over a twenty-week period, the participants confront stereotypes and examine their own histories, exploring themes of immigration, relationships, coming-of-age and growing older. Woven together, their stories take on new meaning, first as they are spoken across generations, and later when they are performed in a sold-out show. Responding to a political climate that assigns little value to community arts initiatives, "Stages" offers an intimate portrait of an unlikely ensemble, transformed by the liberating power of their own stories.

In addition to winning the 2009 Cinelatino Audience Choice Award, Meerkat Media Collective also receives $1,000 on behalf of Cinelatino.

Congratulations to you all!!



August 6, 2009

Reconciling, What A Joy

Here's how sexy and glamorous my job is today... I've been sitting at my desk all day long, staring at my original NYILFF budget, bank account, Quickbooks, expenses excel files and invoices. Yes, folks, I've started to reconcile. The process will take several weeks as both payables and receivables continue to arrive, but at least I now feel like we have current expenses in order. Our awesome CFO kept great records during the fest, which made today MUCH easier for me (phew!). There are a fair bit of expenses paid out during fest week (petty cash, DJs, equipment and related production rentals, last-minute printing jobs, etc.). It adds up and can be hard to track if one person isn't paying close attention. I've always done it alone, which is fine but somewhat overwhelming with everything else on my plate. So, it was HUGE to have Luisa overseeing the process. Love her!

In the meantime, check out some party pix from the fest: Opening Night


August 5, 2009


Okay, I realize I've been a bit remiss about my blog but, you know, I've been kinda busy. If you happened to notice, the only blogs I was able to write last week were posted at roughly 3:00am. Needless to say, I had a loooong week.

That said, phew - it's over! All of those months of planning paid off with what I believe was a great event. The team really pulled together and upped our game. I'm so proud of and grateful to everyone.

On the media tip, we received more Hispanic and English-language coverage than ever before. It was insane. Even Whoopi Goldberg gave us a plug on The View after her red carpet appearance for Opening Night's "La Mission". I mean, what?? Who's life am I living? Total insanity. Then, it turns out yesterday (08/04) I was in Daily Variety with Luis Guzman, who is one of the cooler, nicer folks I've met in quite some time. To be perfectly honest, it's all sort of funny to me b/c I spend the vast majority of my time at my desk and on the phone. It's literally the antithesis of glamor, so the red carpet thing just makes me giggle.

In the coming days and weeks, I will follow up with more recaps, photos, links, etc. I just wanted to check in, catch up and thank everyone for your support. The sense of community I feel from this event totally outweighs the stress of making it happen. I only hope the festival brings you as much joy as it does me.

To be continued...